Show cover of POD HOSTAGE DIPLOMACY

POD HOSTAGE DIPLOMACY

We work to free hostages and the unjustly detained worldwide. Together with their families, we share their stories and let you know how you can help. Host, Daren Nair has been campaigning with many of these families for years and will introduce you to some of the most courageous and resilient people among us, people who have never given up hope, people who will never stop working to reunite their families. 

Tracks

SITREP Pod 4: Free Robert Pether, Australian held in Iraq | Pod Hostage Diplomacy
Last month marked two years since Robert Pether, an Australian citizen and Irish resident, has been wrongfully imprisoned in Iraq. He is a father, a husband and an engineer.Robert and his colleague, Khalid Radwan were both detained in Baghdad on 7 April 2021 after they went to Iraq to resolve a business dispute between the Iraqi government and their Dubai-based employer, CME Consulting. CME Consulting which is an engineering firm was working on the new headquarters for the Central Bank of Iraq. The project was hit by delays and increased costs due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a dispute arose whereby the Iraqi government demanded the return of $12 million USD paid to CME Consulting. As a result of this dispute between the Iraqi government and CME Consulting, both Robert Pether and Khalid Radwan who work for the company were detained and put in prison. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has stated that their detention is arbitrary meaning they are wrongfully imprisoned and called for their immediate release.We have interviewed Robert’s wife, Desree Pether and his son, Flynn Pether four times on this podcast. There have been significant updates in Robert and Khalid’s case. New evidence has come to light that undermines a witness statement that was used to wrongfully imprison Robert and Khalid. Desree Pether joins us again to tell us more.We discuss what has happened since we last spoke in November last year, the current state of Robert’s health, how the Pether family are coping with this ongoing trauma and how this has impacted Desree’s health as she has Multiple Sclerosis (MS). We also discuss what the governments of Iraq, Australia and Egypt should do to free Robert and Khalid, how the international community and journalists can help as well as how to keep up to date with the Free Robert Pether campaign. For more information on Robert Pether, please check out the following:Our previous episodes: Ep 32, Ep 36, Ep 40, Ep 46Free Robert Pether Twitter accountSocial media hashtag: freerobertpetherGet the latest updates on hostage cases we at Pod Hostage Diplomacy are working on including new episodes by subscribing to our fortnightly newsletter, the Hostage Briefing. Subscribe here.You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.Support the Show.
30:40 03/05/2023
Free Paul Whelan and Evan Gershkovich, Americans held in Russia | Pod Hostage Diplomacy
American Marine veteran, Paul Whelan and American journalist, Evan Gershkovich are both wrongfully imprisoned in Russia. The United States government has classified both men as “wrongfully detained” and has called for their immediate release. Both Paul and Evan are victims of Russia’s hostage diplomacy. We explain what hostage diplomacy is, the different types of hostage-takers, creation of the U.S. hostage enterprise, Presidential Policy Directive 30, the Robert Levinson Hostage Recovery and Hostage-Taking Accountability Act as well as how the U.S. Secretary of State makes the decision to designate an American held abroad as “wrongfully detained”.We are joined on this episode by Paul Whelan’s sister, Elizabeth Whelan. Elizabeth has been campaigning to free her brother for over four years and we discuss what the Whelan family had to do when Paul was first detained including getting a privacy act waiver and power of attorney signed. We explain clearly that whether the U.S. gives up a concession to free their citizens held in Russia or does nothing at all and leaves them there, the Russians will continue to take more American citizens hostage. The two things that need to be done to put an end to Russia’s hostage diplomacy are to punish the hostage-takers and continuously raise awareness of the risks so Americans stop travelling to Russia. We also discuss the predicament the U.S. government is in because if they punish the hostage-takers right now, Paul and Evan will be made to suffer even more. Elizabeth tells us what the Russian authorities, U.S. government, corporations, international community, news outlets and public should do to help and she also discusses the lack of equity in how the U.S. government works to free Americans wrongfully detained abroad.The people campaigning to free Evan Gershkovich will find this episode very informative and useful.If you prefer, you can watch the video version of this interview on YouTube. For more information on Paul Whelan, please check out the following:Our previous episodes: Ep 4, Ep 21, Ep 35, Ep 39, Ep 48Free Paul Whelan websiteFree Paul Whelan Go Fund MeFree Paul Whelan Twitter accountSocial media hashtag: FreePaulWhelanGet the latest updates on hostage cases we at Pod Hostage Diplomacy are working on including new episodes by subscribing to our fortnightly newsletter, the Hostage Briefing. Subscribe here.You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.Support the Show.
57:31 19/04/2023
SITREP Pod: Free Shahab Dalili, American hostage in Iran | Pod Hostage Diplomacy
Shahab Dalili is a United States lawful permanent resident from Virginia. His wife and children are all U.S. citizens. In April 2016, Shahab went to Tehran to attend his father’s funeral. He was then arrested and has been wrongfully imprisoned in Iran to this day.According to recent news reports, there have been discussions of a potential prisoner exchange between the United States and Iran. The U.S. government has stated that no deal has been agreed. Shahab’s family are very worried that he may be left behind by the United States government if a prisoner exchange deal does go ahead. On this episode, we have the honour of speaking once again to Shahab’s son, Darian Dalili. We discuss the Robert Levinson Hostage Recovery and Hostage Taking Accountability Act which has been signed into U.S. law, the fire in Evin prison last year where Shahab is being held, the release of American citizen Baquer Namazi who was held hostage in Iran since 2016, the potential prisoner exchange between the U.S. and Iran as well as what the U.S. State Department, Congress and President Biden should do.  We then end this episode discussing what journalists and the public can do to help free Shahab Dalili and bring him back home to Virginia.If you prefer, you can watch the video version of this interview on YouTube. For more information on Shahab Dalili, please check out the following:Our previous episode: Ep 41Free Shahab Dalili Twitter accountSocial media hashtag: FreeDaliliGet the latest updates on hostage cases we at Pod Hostage Diplomacy are working on including new episodes by subscribing to our fortnightly newsletter, the Hostage Briefing. Subscribe here.You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.Support the Show.
23:01 29/03/2023
Free Cecile Kohler, French hostage in Iran | Pod Hostage Diplomacy
Cecile Kohler is a French teacher and a unionist. She has always dreamed of visiting Iran. Last year, both Cecile and her partner, Jacques Paris visited Iran as tourists during the French school holidays and were arrested on their way to the airport by Iranian authorities. They have both been wrongfully imprisoned in Iran since 7 May 2022. The French government has referred to them as state hostages.In October 2022, both Cecile and Jacques were made to deliver forced “confessions” which were aired on Iranian state media. The French government was outraged by this and strongly condemned it. On this episode, we have the honour of speaking to Cecile’s sister, Noemie Kohler. Noemie walks us through what happened to her sister, how they found out she was arrested and what they did next. Noemie tells us how heartbreaking it was for her and her family to see her sister being forced to confess to something she didn’t do. She also talks about how her sister is doing physically and mentally as Cecile has been held for many months in solitary confinement, how the Kohler family have been coping with this trauma, the fact that Cecile has not been given access to a lawyer and the Free Cecile public campaign. Noemie and her family have been working with the families and supporters of other French citizens held hostage in Iran. They held a solidarity rally in Paris earlier this year. We end this episode discussing what the Iranian authorities, French government and European Union should do to free Cecile and other innocent foreign nationals held hostage in Iran. We also discuss how journalists and members of the public can help.If you prefer, you can watch the video version of this interview on YouTube. For more information on Cecile Kohler, please check out the following:Free Cecile websiteFree Cecile Twitter accountSocial media hashtag: FreeCecileGet the latest updates on hostage cases we at Pod Hostage Diplomacy are working on including new episodes by subscribing to our fortnightly newsletter, the Hostage Briefing. Subscribe here.You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.Support the Show.
40:23 15/03/2023
SITREP Pod 2: Free Nahid Taghavi, German hostage in Iran | Pod Hostage Diplomacy
68-year-old German citizen, Nahid Taghavi has been held hostage in Iran since 16 October 2020. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and Amnesty International have both stated that her detention is arbitrary and have called for her immediate release. Members of the German Bundestag from multiple parties have also stated that Nahid is unjustly detained and have called for her release too. Many things have happened in Iran in the last year. On this episode, we have the honour of speaking once again to Nahid’s daughter, Mariam Claren who brings us up to speed on her mother’s case. Nahid was released on medical furlough in July last year and was summoned back to Iran’s notorious Evin prison 45 minutes after the German Chancellor criticised Iran’s brutal crackdown on protests sparked by the murder of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody. We also discuss the release of French academic Fariba Adelkhah, German citizen and U.S. resident Jamshid Sharmahd being sentenced to death as well as what the Iranian regime, German government and international community should do. We end this episode talking about how journalists and the public can help free Nahid Taghavi and Jamshid Sharmahd.If you prefer, you can watch the video version of this interview on YouTube. For more information on Nahid Taghavi, please check out the following:Our previous episode(s): Ep 6, Ep 27Free Nahid petitionMariam Claren's Twitter accountFree Nahid Facebook pageFree Nahid Instagram accountSocial media hashtag: FreeNahid For more information on Jamshid Sharmahd, please check out the following:Our previous episode(s): Ep 20, Ep 51Free Jamshid Sharmahd websiteFree Jamshid Sharmahd petitionGazelle Sharmahd's Twitter accountFree Jamshid Instagram accountSocial media hashtag: SaveSharmahdGet the latest updates on hostage cases we at Pod Hostage Diplomacy are working on including new episodes by subscribing to our fortnightly newsletter, the Hostage Briefing. Subscribe here.You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.Support the Show.
43:31 01/03/2023
SITREP Pod: Free Benjamin Briere, French hostage in Iran | Pod Hostage Diplomacy
Today is day 19 of French citizen, Benjamin Briere’s hunger strike. He has been wrongfully imprisoned in Iran since May 2020. He is one of seven French citizens currently held in Iran. The French government has referred to them as state hostages.Iran is notorious for arresting innocent foreign nationals on false charges and putting them in prison for years for the purpose of extracting concessions from their home country. This abhorrent practice is state-sponsored hostage taking also known as hostage diplomacy.On this episode, we speak once again to Benjamin’s sister, Blandine Briere who tells us what needs to be done to bring her brother back home to France. Last month, Blandine and the other families of French hostages in Iran held a rally in Paris urging the Iranian regime to release their loved ones. She talks about this rally, her brother’s hunger strike, what the Iranian authorities, French government and European Union should do as well as how journalists and the public can help free Benjamin Briere.If you prefer, you can watch the video version of this interview on YouTube. For more information on Benjamin Briere, please check out the following:Our previous episode: Ep 42Free Benjamin Briere petitionFree Benjamin Instagram accountBlandine Briere's Twitter accountSocial media hashtag: FreeBenGet the latest updates on hostage cases we at Pod Hostage Diplomacy are working on including new episodes by subscribing to our fortnightly newsletter, the Hostage Briefing. Subscribe here.You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.Support the Show.
15:27 15/02/2023
SITREP Pod: Free Jamshid Sharmahd, German citizen and US resident held hostage in Iran | Pod Hostage Diplomacy
In July 2020, Jamshid Sharmahd was kidnapped in Dubai by agents of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and taken to Iran where he is being held today. Jamshid is a German citizen and US resident who has lived in California for over 17 years. His life is in imminent danger as he may be sentenced to death and executed any day now. On this episode, we have the honour of speaking to Gazelle Sharmahd, Jamshid’s daughter once again. She brings us up to speed with what has happened since we last spoke one year ago. We discuss the ongoing revolution in Iran and how this has affected Jamshid’s case.Gazelle also tells us what the German and U.S. governments need to do better and how NGOs, journalists and the public can help. If you prefer, you can watch the video version of this interview on YouTube. For more information on Jamshid Sharmahd, please check out the following:Our previous episode: Ep 20Free Jamshid Sharmahd websiteFree Jamshid Sharmahd petitionGazelle Sharmahd's Twitter accountFree Jamshid Instagram accountSocial media hashtag: SaveSharmahdGet the latest updates on hostage cases we at Pod Hostage Diplomacy are working on including new episodes by subscribing to our fortnightly newsletter, the Hostage Briefing. Subscribe here.You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.Support the Show.
35:59 01/02/2023
SITREP Pod 2: Free Kai Li, American held in China | Pod Hostage Diplomacy
American citizen, Kai Li from New York has been wrongfully imprisoned in China since September 2016. The U.S. government has classified Kai as being “wrongfully detained” and the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has called for Kai’s immediate release. A few days ago, Kai’s father passed away in China as a result of the surge in COVID19 cases in the country. Chinese authorities have also imposed restrictions within its prisons due to the pandemic that have significantly affected Kai including his ability to communicate with the U.S. Embassy in China and his family.Last year, we saw the Biden administration secure the release of dozens of Americans held hostage or wrongfully detained around the world. Unfortunately, Americans wrongfully detained in China for years like Kai Li have yet to be freed. On this episode, we speak once again to Kai’s son, Harrison Li to get an update on what has happened since we spoke to him nine months ago. Harrison talks about the death of his grandfather, his limited communications with his father, how he’s coping with this trauma while studying for his PhD as well as what the Chinese and U.S. governments need to do better. We end this episode discussing why Harrison and his family would like to have a meeting with President Biden as well as what journalists and the public can do to help bring Kai Li home.   If you prefer, you can watch the video version of this interview on YouTube. For more information on Kai Li, please check out the following:Our previous episode(s): Ep 7, Ep 33Free Kai Li websiteFree Kai Li petitionFree Kai Li Twitter accountSocial media hashtag: FreeKaiLi Get the latest updates on hostage cases we at Pod Hostage Diplomacy are working on including new episodes by subscribing to our fortnightly newsletter, the Hostage Briefing. Subscribe here.You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.Support the Show.
44:15 18/01/2023
Peter Humphrey, British fraud investigator and ex-journalist previously held in China | Pod Hostage Diplomacy
British citizen, Peter Humphrey used to be a fraud investigator and a journalist based in China. Peter and his wife who is an American citizen co-founded the company, ChinaWhys which was a risk-advisory firm based in Shanghai. In July 2013, both Peter and his wife were arrested by Chinese authorities. Their teenage son and only child was separated from both his parents. China is notorious for carrying out wrongful detentions especially when it comes to foreign nationals.  Both Peter and his wife were released almost two years later. Peter was released before his sentence ended due to poor health. Peter was sadly diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. Denial of medical care by Chinese authorities during his imprisonment made his condition worse. Peter and his wife now live in England. Since his release, Peter has been mentoring the families with loved ones wrongfully imprisoned in China. On this episode, we have the honour of speaking to Peter himself.Using his experience as a journalist, Peter walks us through his imprisonment in China step by step in this detailed 3.5 hour interview. He talks about how he found the strength to keep on going and how he’s coping now with his post-traumatic stress. We also discuss what the Chinese and British governments should do better. We end our interview discussing what international businesses, journalists and the public can do to help make sure this does not happen again.If you prefer, you can watch the video version of this interview on YouTube. For more information on Peter Humphrey, please check out the following:Peter Humphrey's LinkedIn pageGet the latest updates on hostage cases we at Pod Hostage Diplomacy are working on including new episodes by subscribing to our fortnightly newsletter, the Hostage Briefing. Subscribe here.You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.Support the Show.
212:24 04/01/2023
Brittney is free, Paul was left behind - again | Pod Hostage Diplomacy
On 8th December 2022, American citizen and WNBA athlete Brittney Griner was freed in a prisoner swap between the United States and Russia. Unfortunately, American citizen and Marine veteran Paul Whelan also held in Russia was left behind – again. The U.S. State Department classified both Brittney and Paul as “wrongfully detained”. Next week will mark four years since Paul was arrested and wrongfully imprisoned in Russia.On this episode, we speak again to Paul’s sister, Elizabeth Whelan to find out what it was like for Paul and the Whelan family to be left behind again. We also discuss the U.S. politicians who only started to mention Paul’s name publicly after Brittney Griner’s release for the purpose of criticising the Biden administration and how this division within U.S. domestic politics plays into the hands of Russian President Vladimir Putin.In addition to being a U.S. citizen, Paul Whelan is also a citizen of Great Britain, Canada and Ireland. We discuss with Elizabeth Whelan what the Russian, American, British, Canadian and Irish governments should do as well as what journalists and the public can do to help bring Paul Whelan home.If you prefer, you can watch the video version of this interview on YouTube. For more information on Paul Whelan, please check out the following:Our previous episodes: Ep 4, Ep 21, Ep 35, Ep 39Free Paul Whelan websiteFree Paul Whelan Go Fund MeFree Paul Whelan Twitter accountSocial media hashtag: FreePaulWhelanGet the latest updates on hostage cases we at Pod Hostage Diplomacy are working on including new episodes by subscribing to our fortnightly newsletter, the Hostage Briefing. Subscribe here.You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.Support the Show.
42:52 21/12/2022
Free Jerrel Kenemore, American held in Venezuela | Pod Hostage Diplomacy
Jerrel Kenemore, an American citizen from Dallas, Texas has been imprisoned in Venezuela since March this year. The U.S. State Department has classified him as “wrongfully detained”. Venezuela is notorious for taking innocent Americans captive on false charges and using them as leverage to extract concessions from the United States. This is state-sponsored hostage taking also known as hostage diplomacy.On this episode, we have the honour of speaking to Jerrel’s sister, Jeana Kenemore Tillery to find out how we can help free Jerrel. Jeana walks us through Jerrel’s background, how he was taken captive, the conditions of his detention, his hunger strikes and his attempts to take his own life. We then discuss what the Venezuelan and U.S. governments should do as well as how journalists and the public can help.If you prefer, you can watch the video version of this interview on YouTube. For more information on Jerrel Kenemore, please check out the following:Free Jerrel Kenemore websiteJeana Kenemore Tillery's Twitter accountSocial media hashtag: FreeJerrelKenemoreGet the latest updates on hostage cases we at Pod Hostage Diplomacy are working on including new episodes by subscribing to our fortnightly newsletter, the Hostage Briefing. Subscribe here.You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.Support the Show.
55:10 07/12/2022
SITREP Pod 3: Free Robert Pether, Australian held in Iraq | Pod Hostage Diplomacy
Australian engineer and Irish resident, Robert Pether has been wrongfully imprisoned in Iraq since 7 April 2021 as a result of a commercial dispute between the Iraqi government and his Dubai-based employer, CME Consulting. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has stated that his detention is arbitrary and has called for his immediate release. We have interviewed Robert’s family three times on this podcast and we speak once again to Desree Pether, Robert’s wife. Since our last conversation with Desree in August, there have been significant updates on Robert’s case and Desree brings us up to speed. Desree also talks to us about the lack of progress in Robert’s case since Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese spoke to his former Iraqi counterpart earlier this year. Now that Iraq has a new President and Prime Minister, Desree is hoping they will take a different approach. The Iraqi government is also planning on opening an embassy in Ireland and Desree has started a petition calling on the Irish government to first ensure the Iraqis release Robert and let him come home to Ireland.We also discuss what the Iraqi and Australian governments should do better and how journalists and the public can help free Robert Pether.For more information on Robert Pether, please check out the following:Our previous episodes: Ep 32, Ep 36, Ep 40Free Robert Pether Twitter accountSocial media hashtag: freerobertpetherGet the latest updates on hostage cases we at Pod Hostage Diplomacy are working on including new episodes by subscribing to our fortnightly newsletter, the Hostage Briefing. Subscribe here.You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.Support the Show.
20:11 23/11/2022
Free Eyvin Hernandez, American held in Venezuela | Pod Hostage Diplomacy
Last month on 1st October, seven innocent Americans who were wrongfully imprisoned in Venezuela were released in a prisoner swap between the US and Venezuela. Eyvin Hernandez, an innocent American citizen who works for the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office was left behind. He has been held in Venezuela since March this year. The US government has classified Eyvin as wrongfully detained. On this episode, we have the honour of speaking to Eyvin’s brother, Henry Martinez. Henry walks us through what happened to Eyvin including his disappearance while he was on holiday in Colombia and how his family eventually found out that he was being held in prison in Venezuela, the conditions of his detention, the last time Henry spoke to Eyvin, how the family have been coping with this trauma and what it was like to be left behind in last month’s prisoner swap. We also discuss what the Venezuelan government should do, what the US government should do better including current issues with the US State Department’s process for classifying Americans held abroad as wrongfully detained as well as what journalists and the public can do to help bring Eyvin home.If you prefer, you can watch the video version of this interview on YouTube. For more information on Eyvin Hernandez, please check out the following:Bring Eyvin Home websiteBring Eyvin Home Change petitionBring Eyvin Home GoFundMeBring Eyvin Home Facebook accountBring Eyvin Home Twitter accountBring Eyvin Home Instagram accountBring Eyvin Home Tik Tok accountSocial media hashtag: BringEyvinHomeGet the latest updates on hostage cases we at Pod Hostage Diplomacy are working on including new episodes by subscribing to our fortnightly newsletter, the Hostage Briefing. Subscribe here.You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.Support the Show.
36:23 09/11/2022
Jose Pereira, American previously held in Venezuela | Pod Hostage Diplomacy
Earlier this month on 1st October, Jose Pereira and six other innocent Americans who were wrongfully imprisoned in Venezuela for years were freed in a prisoner swap between the United States and Venezuela. Jose lives in Houston, Texas and was acting President and CEO for US oil company, CITGO Petroleum. In November 2017 shortly before Thanksgiving, Jose was instructed to travel to Venezuela with a few of his senior management colleagues to attend a business meeting in Caracas. During that meeting, Jose and his five American colleagues were arrested on false charges and were wrongfully imprisoned in the country. Collectively, they were known as the CITGO 6. On this episode, we have the honour of speaking to Jose Pereira himself. This is the first time we’ve got to interview a former hostage who we campaigned for on this podcast and we’re so happy that he is now free and back home reunited with his family. We interviewed Jose’s son, John Pereira in August when his father was still in prison and we discussed Jose’s detention in detail and the efforts to secure his release. Jose adds to this by letting us know what it was like from his perspective. Jose walks us through his release from the moment he found out he was finally going home to the moment the plane landed in the United States where he was reunited with family after almost five years. Jose talks about spending 10 days in the US Department of Defense’s medical facility where he underwent the decompression process, meeting his grandson for the first time, how he’s doing now and his plans for the future. Since returning home, Jose has been raising awareness of other hostages and wrongful detainees held around the world. He tells us why this is very important to him. Jose also talks about the changes around the world that have stood out to him as he feels that he has been frozen in time for the last five years. Jose talks about finding solace in religion and finding the strength to keep on going during his years in prison. He started out reading a mini-Bible in his prison cell under candle light which was smuggled in by one of the other prisoners which eventually grew to become a Bible study group with around 150 prisoners. We discuss what the US government should be doing better including the difference in treatment of American citizens and American lawful permanent residents held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad. We also discuss what it was like being left behind in March this year when the US government freed Jose’s colleague, Gustavo Cardenas and left the other five members of the CITGO 6 behind. Most importantly, Jose gives recommendations to the families with loved ones still held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad. We then end this episode discussing what journalists and the public can do to help.If you prefer, you can watch the video version of this interview on YouTube. For more information on Jose Pereira, please check out the following:Our previous episode: Ep 38Jose Pereira's Twitter accountGet the latest updates on hostage cases we at Pod Hostage Diplomacy are working on including new episodes by subscribing to our fortnightly newsletter, the Hostage Briefing. Subscribe here.You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.Support the Show.
90:16 26/10/2022
Aya Hijazi, American citizen and humanitarian previously held in Egypt | Pod Hostage Diplomacy
Aya Hijazi is an American citizen and a humanitarian. She is the founder and Director of the Belady Foundation that worked to help children in Egypt who lived on the streets. In May 2014 when the crackdown on civil society in Egypt was gathering pace, Egyptian police raided the Belady Foundation’s offices and arrested Aya, her husband and her colleagues. They were wrongfully imprisoned in Egypt for almost 3 years.Human Rights Watch called their wrongful imprisonment a travesty of justice. The US government publicly called for Aya’s release and she was eventually freed in April 2017. On this episode, we have the honour of speaking to Aya herself. Aya gives us an overview of the political climate in Egypt in 2014 and walks us through her arrest, her interrogation in a police station where she was assaulted and accused of being an American spy, conditions of her detention, the medical issues she suffered from while she was in prison, her sham trial, using her time in prison to learn French, Spanish and drawing as well as how she found the strength to keep on going during those three years. Aya gives recommendations to other former hostages and hostage families on how to persevere through this trauma and tells us what she’s been up to since her release.We then discuss what the Egyptian and American governments should do better, how the media can really help make a difference in raising awareness of a hostage’s case as well as what the public can do to help. Aya also reveals that on the day of her release from prison, she was taken to meet the Egyptian Director of National Intelligence who forced Aya to attend a meeting with US President Donald Trump at the White House – a meeting she didn’t want to attend. She was told there would be consequences to her husband if she refused. Since Aya’s release, she has been advocating for human rights in Egypt and she talks about British-Egyptian human rights activist, Alaa Abd El-Fattah who has been on hunger strike for months as well as the murder of Italian citizen and Cambridge University student, Giulio Regeni who went to Egypt to research labour unions.   If you prefer, you can watch the video version of this interview on YouTube. For more information on Aya Hijazi, please check out the following:Aya Hijazi's Twitter accountThe Belady Foundation's Twitter accountThe Belady Foundation's Facebook accountEgypt Prison Atlas websiteGet the latest updates on hostage cases we at Pod Hostage Diplomacy are working on including new episodes by subscribing to our fortnightly newsletter, the Hostage Briefing. Subscribe here.You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.Support the Show.
88:21 12/10/2022
Free Benjamin Briere, French hostage in Iran | Pod Hostage Diplomacy
French citizen and tourist, Benjamin Briere has been held hostage in Iran since May 2020. He has been sentenced to eight years in prison for a crime he did not commit. On the day of his sentencing, the French Foreign Ministry stated that Benjamin’s “completely groundless sentence is unacceptable.” He is one of four known French citizens currently held hostage in Iran. On this episode, we have the honour of speaking to Benjamin’s sister, Blandine Briere to find out what we can do to help bring him back home to France. Blandine walks us through Benjamin’s disappearance when he was in Iran, finding out he had been arrested and placed in solitary confinement for over a month, his hunger strike in prison, his unfair trial as well as how Benjamin and Blandine have both been coping with this trauma. We also discuss what the Iranian authorities, French government and European Union should do. As part of this conversation, we discuss the open letter Blandine and the families of other European hostages in Iran wrote to Josep Borrell Fontelles, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. We then end this episode talking about how journalists and the public can help bring Benjamin home. If you prefer, you can watch the video version of this interview on YouTube. For more information on Benjamin Briere, please check out the following:Free Benjamin Briere petitionFree Benjamin Instagram accountBlandine Briere's Twitter accountSocial media hashtag: FreeBenGet the latest updates on hostage cases we at Pod Hostage Diplomacy are working on including new episodes by subscribing to our fortnightly newsletter, the Hostage Briefing. Subscribe here.You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.Support the Show.
28:38 28/09/2022
Free Shahab Dalili, American hostage in Iran | Pod Hostage Diplomacy
Shahab Dalili is a US permanent resident from Virginia. His wife and children are all US citizens. In April 2016, Shahab went to Tehran to attend his father’s funeral. He was then arrested and has been wrongfully imprisoned in Iran to this day. Shahab is not the only American currently held hostage in Iran. The Iranians are also holding captive: Siamak and Baquer Namazi, Emad Shargi and Morad Tahbaz.On this episode, we have the honour of speaking to Shahab’s son, Darian Dalili. Darian walks us through what happened to his father, his unfair trial and how the Dalili family are all coping with this trauma. We end the episode talking about what the Iranian authorities and US government need to do as well as what journalists and the public can do to help bring Shahab back home to his family in Virginia.If you prefer, you can watch the video version of this interview on YouTube. For more information on Shahab Dalili, please check out the following:Social media hashtag: FreeDaliliGet the latest updates on hostage cases we at Pod Hostage Diplomacy are working on including new episodes by subscribing to our fortnightly newsletter, the Hostage Briefing. Subscribe here.You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.Support the Show.
32:11 14/09/2022
SITREP Pod 2: Free Robert Pether, Australian held in Iraq | Pod Hostage Diplomacy
Australian citizen and Irish resident, Robert Pether has been wrongfully imprisoned in Iraq since 7 April 2021. He and his colleague, Khalid Radwan were both detained in Baghdad after they went to Iraq to resolve a business dispute between the Iraqi government and their Dubai-based employer, CME Consulting. CME Consulting which is an engineering firm was working on the new headquarters for the Central Bank of Iraq. The project was hit by delays and increased costs due to the COVID pandemic and a dispute arose whereby the Iraqi government demanded the return of $12 million USD paid to CME Consulting. As a result of this dispute between the Iraqi government and CME Consulting – both Robert Pether and Khalid Radwan who work for the company - were detained and put in prison. In March this year, The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention stated that their detention is arbitrary and called for their immediate release.We’ve interviewed Robert’s family twice before and since then Robert’s health has severely deteriorated. He recently underwent surgery which left him with a 15cm wound that became infected. To make matters even worse, the deadly unrest in Iraq has Robert’s family worried that any efforts to secure his release will be delayed. On this episode we speak again to Robert’s wife, Desree Pether. She talks about Robert’s health, how he’s doing now, the recent call between the Australian and Iraqi Prime Ministers as well as the need for Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to create a special team dedicated to bringing Australians wrongfully detained abroad back home. Desree also tells us what the Iraqi and Australian governments need to do as well as how the public can help bring Robert home. We end the interview talking about Desree’s concerns with the current deadly unrest in Iraq and how this may affect Robert’s case.For more information on Robert Pether, please check out the following:Our previous episodes: Ep 32, Ep 36Free Robert Pether Twitter accountSocial media hashtag: freerobertpetherGet the latest updates on hostage cases we at Pod Hostage Diplomacy are working on including new episodes by subscribing to our fortnightly newsletter, the Hostage Briefing. Subscribe here.You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.Support the Show.
23:55 31/08/2022
SITREP Pod 2: Free Paul Whelan, American held in Russia | Pod Hostage Diplomacy
The United States government has put forward an offer to the Russian authorities to secure the release of two wrongfully detained Americans in the country – Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner. Paul Whelan is a former US Marine and Brittney Griner is a WNBA superstar athlete.On this episode, we speak again to Paul’s sister, Elizabeth Whelan. Elizabeth talks to us about her recent call with President Biden, the US proposal to Russia to secure Paul and Brittney’s release, the Russian government asking for more as well as push back within the US. We also discuss what the Russian and US governments need to do as well as what journalists, news editors and the public can do to help bring Paul and Brittney home.If you prefer, you can watch the video version of this interview on YouTube. For more information on Paul Whelan, please check out the following:Our previous episodes: Ep 4, Ep 21, Ep 35Free Paul Whelan websiteFree Paul Whelan Go Fund MeElizabeth Whelan's Twitter accountSocial media hashtag: FreePaulWhelanGet the latest updates on hostage cases we at Pod Hostage Diplomacy are working on including new episodes by subscribing to our fortnightly newsletter, the Hostage Briefing. Subscribe here.You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.Support the Show.
70:22 17/08/2022
Free Jose Pereira, American held in Venezuela | Pod Hostage Diplomacy
US permanent resident, Jose Pereira from Texas was former acting President and CEO of CITGO Petroleum. In November 2017 shortly before Thanksgiving, Jose was arrested in Caracas while he was there for a business meeting with five of his other American colleagues. Collectively, they’re known as the CITGO 6. The US government has stated they are unlawfully detained and called for their immediate release. On this episode, we have the honour of speaking to Jose’s son, John Pereira. John talks to us about what happened to his father, the conditions of his detention, the unfair trial and the significant developments that have taken place in the last year including Jose’s heart attack in prison, a visit to Venezuela by US Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens as well as the release of Gustavo Cardenas in March 2022. Gustavo was one of the CITGO 6 and is now thankfully back home in the US with his family. John also talks to us about how he and family have been coping with this trauma, President Biden’s new Executive Order on Americans held hostage and wrongfully detained abroad as well as what CITGO Petroleum, the US government, journalists and the public can do to help bring Jose Pereira back home to Texas.If you prefer, you can watch the video version of this interview on YouTube. For more information on Jose Pereira, please check out the following:Free Jose Pereira Twitter accountSocial media hashtag: FreeJosePereira, Citgo6Get the latest updates on hostage cases we at Pod Hostage Diplomacy are working on including new episodes by subscribing to our fortnightly newsletter, the Hostage Briefing. Subscribe here.You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.Support the Show.
76:39 03/08/2022
Trevor Reed Is Home. Now It’s Time To Heal | Pod Hostage Diplomacy
Three weeks ago on 27th April, Trevor Reed was freed in a prisoner swap deal between the United States and Russia. Trevor is an American citizen and former US Marine who was wrongfully imprisoned in Russia since 16 August 2019. On this episode, we’ll hear from Trevor’s father, Joey Reed on what it was like seeing Trevor being released, how they’re doing now, what’s next for the Reed family and what should President Biden do to bring the other Americans held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad home.There are very few people in the world who truly understand what it’s like to be in Trevor’s shoes right now. The ones that do tend to be former hostages as well. On this episode, we’ll hear messages for Trevor from former hostages – Michael White, Michael Scott Moore and Sam Goodwin. They give Trevor some good advice based on their own experience.Trevor was not the only American and former US Marine wrongfully imprisoned in Russia. Paul Whelan has been held in Russia since December 2018. Unfortunately Paul was not included in this prisoner swap and was left behind. We’ll hear a message from Paul’s sister, Elizabeth Whelan for Trevor.Finally, we end this episode talking about secondary trauma and how it affects campaigners like ourselves. For this reason, we’ll be taking a break to recharge and make some upgrades to our podcast. We’ll be back with our next episode on 3 August 2022. In the meantime, please do listen to all our previous episodes if you haven’t already. Thank you for listening to Pod Hostage Diplomacy.For more information on Trevor Reed, please check out the following:Our previous episodes: Ep 2, Ep 24Free Trevor Reed websiteFree Trevor Reed Go Fund MeFree Trevor Reed Twitter accountSocial media hashtag: FreeTrevorReedGet the latest updates on hostage cases we at Pod Hostage Diplomacy are working on including new episodes by subscribing to our fortnightly newsletter, the Hostage Briefing. Subscribe here.You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.Support the Show.
16:46 18/05/2022
SITREP Pod: Free Robert Pether, Australian held in Iraq | Pod Hostage Diplomacy
Robert Pether and his colleague, Khalid Radwan were both detained in Baghdad on 7 April 2021 after they went to Iraq to resolve a business dispute between the Iraqi government and their Dubai-based employer, CME Consulting. CME Consulting which is an engineering firm was working on the new headquarters for the Central Bank of Iraq. The project was hit by delays and increased costs due to the COVID pandemic and a dispute arose whereby the Iraqi government demanded the return of $12 million USD paid to CME Consulting. As a result of this dispute between the Iraqi government and CME Consulting – both Robert Pether and Khalid Radwan who work for the company were detained and put in prison. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has stated that their detention is arbitrary and has called for their immediate release.We interviewed Robert’s 18 year old son, Flynn Pether last month and unfortunately since then, things have gotten worse. Two new court cases have been brought against Robert and Khalid. They are also being sued for an additional $20 million USD. On this week’s episode, we are joined by Robert’s wife and Flynn’s mother – Desree Pether. Desree talks to us about what happened including recent developments, how this trauma has affected the family as well as what the Australian government, journalists and the public can do to help bring Robert back home to his family.For more information on Robert Pether, please check out the following:Our previous episode: Ep 32Free Robert Pether Twitter accountSocial media hashtag: freerobertpetherGet the latest updates on hostage cases we at Pod Hostage Diplomacy are working on including new episodes by subscribing to our fortnightly newsletter, the Hostage Briefing. Subscribe here.You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.Support the Show.
22:20 11/05/2022
Trevor is free, Paul was left behind | Pod Hostage Diplomacy
One week ago on Wednesday 27th April, Trevor Reed – an innocent American citizen and former US Marine who had been wrongfully imprisoned in Russia for 985 days – was freed. Trevor was released in a prisoner swap deal between the United States and Russia. Trevor is now back home in the United States getting the medical attention he needs and surrounded by his loving family – his father, Joey – his mother, Paula – and his sister, Taylor. We have interviewed Trevor’s parents twice on Pod Hostage Diplomacy and we are very happy for them. We are also truly grateful for the efforts of President Biden, the US State Department, the US Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, Roger Carstens and his team, the Richardson Center as well as everyone else involved in securing Trevor’s release.With all that being said – the US government should have done better. They left a man behind. They left fellow American and former US Marine, Paul Whelan behind. We have interviewed the Whelan family twice as well. Last Wednesday was a day of mixed-emotions for Paul Whelan and his family when they found out that Trevor was being released and Paul was being left behind.On this episode, we are joined once again by Paul Whelan’s sister, Elizabeth Whelan. She tells us what Trevor’s release and Paul being left behind was like for her, for Paul and for the rest of the Whelan family. Elizabeth also talks to us about potentially changing her approach to campaigning, Brittney Griner and what President Biden, the State Department, journalists and the public can do to free Paul Whelan.After our interview with Elizabeth, you’ll also hear voice messages from the loved ones of other Americans held hostage or wrongfully imprisoned overseas specifically Majd Kamalmaz held in Syria, Tomeu Vadell held in Venezuela, Kai Li held in China, Paul Rusesabagina held in Rwanda and Jamshid Sharmahd held in Iran. They tell us their thoughts on Trevor’s release and talk about what President Biden now needs to do to bring their loved ones home too.If you prefer, you can watch the video version of this interview on YouTube. For more information on Paul Whelan, please check out the following:Our previous episodes: Ep 4, Ep 21Free Paul Whelan websiteFree Paul Whelan Go Fund MeElizabeth Whelan's Twitter accountSocial media hashtag: FreePaulWhelanGet the latest updates on hostage cases we at Pod Hostage Diplomacy are working on including new episodes by subscribing to our fortnightly newsletter, the Hostage Briefing. Subscribe here.You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.Support the Show.
71:22 04/05/2022
SITREP Pod 2: Free Tomeu Vadell, American held in Venezuela | Pod Hostage Diplomacy
American citizen Tomeu Vadell from Lake Charles, Louisiana has been wrongfully imprisoned in Venezuela since November 2017. Tomeu works for US oil company, CITGO and in November 2017, Tomeu was arrested in Caracas while he was down there for a business meeting with 5 of his other colleagues. Collectively, they’re known as the CITGO 6. The US government has stated that they are unlawfully detained.In October 2019, the Vadell family submitted Tomeu’s case to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD). It usually takes 6-12 months for UNWGAD to release their opinion on a case. It has been 2.5 years and to this day, the UNWGAD has not released an opinion on Tomeu Vadell. On this episode, we have the honour of speaking to Tomeu’s daughter, Cristina Vadell who talks to us about this UNWGAD delay and what needs to be done. Cristina also talks to us about her father’s current condition and how he is coping, the recent release of Gustavo Cardenas who is one of the CITGO 6 as well as the backlash from US opposition party politicians objecting to the Biden administration’s engagement with Venezuela which resulted in the release of two Americans including Gustavo.We end the episode talking about what the US government, news media and public can do to help bring Tomeu Vadell home to his family in Lake Charles, Louisiana.If you prefer, you can watch the video version of this interview on YouTube. For more information on Tomeu Vadell, please check out the following:Our previous episodes: Ep 3, Ep 8, Ep 23Free Tomeu Vadell websiteVeronica Vadell Weggeman's Twitter accountSocial media hashtag: FreeTomeuVadellGet the latest updates on hostage cases we at Pod Hostage Diplomacy are working on including new episodes by subscribing to our fortnightly newsletter, the Hostage Briefing. Subscribe here.You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.Support the Show.
40:12 27/04/2022
SITREP Pod: Free Kai Li, American held in China | Pod Hostage Diplomacy
American citizen, Kai Li from New York has been wrongfully imprisoned in China since September 2016. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has called for his immediate release. On the 4th of November last year, a bipartisan group of 15 members of Congress wrote a letter to President of the United States Joe Biden urging him to bring Kai Li back home to the US.We had the honour of interviewing Kai Li’s son, Harrison Li in October last year. In recent weeks, the Chinese government have imposed one of the strictest COVID19 lockdowns in the world, in Shanghai. This is where Kai is being held. The prison authorities have cancelled Kai’s consular support phone calls with the US Embassy as well as his phone calls with his family back home in the United States.On this episode, we are joined once again by Kai’s son, Harrison Li. He talks to us about the recent developments in Shanghai, his concerns that the US government are not prioritising the return of Americans held in China as well as a disappointing virtual meeting he had with US National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan and the families of other Americans held hostage or wrongfully imprisoned overseas. We end this episode by talking about what President Biden, the news media and the public can do to help free Kai Li.If you prefer, you can watch the video version of this interview on YouTube. For more information on Kai Li, please check out the following:Our previous episode: Ep 7Free Kai Li websiteFree Kai Li petitionFree Kai Li Twitter accountSocial media hashtag: FreeKaiLi Get the latest updates on hostage cases we at Pod Hostage Diplomacy are working on including new episodes by subscribing to our fortnightly newsletter, the Hostage Briefing. Subscribe here.You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.Support the Show.
30:49 20/04/2022
Free Robert Pether, Australian held in Iraq | Pod Hostage Diplomacy
Thursday 7th April 2022 marked the 1 year anniversary of Australian citizen Robert Pether’s wrongful imprisonment in Iraq. Robert Pether and his colleague, Khalid Radwan were both detained in Baghdad on 7 April 2021 after they went to Iraq to resolve a business dispute between the Iraqi government and their Dubai-based employer, CME Consulting. CME Consulting is an engineering firm that was hired by the Iraqi government to work on the new headquarters of the Central Bank of Iraq. The project was hit by delays and increased costs due to the COVID pandemic and a dispute arose whereby the Iraqi government demanded the return of $12 million USD paid to CME Consulting. As a result of this dispute between the Iraqi government and CME Consulting, both Robert Pether and Khalid Radwan who are employees of the company were arrested and put in prison.The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has stated that their detention is arbitrary and has called for their immediate release. The UN Working Group also stated that their detention is being used to “exercise leverage in a commercial transaction, in violation of international law”. Robert, his wife and 3 children live in Ireland. On this episode, we have the honour of speaking to Robert’s 18 year old son, Flynn Pether. Flynn talks to us about what happened, his father’s background, the conditions he’s being held in, his health issues, unfair trial as well as how the family have been coping with this ongoing trauma. We also discuss what the Australian government, CME Consulting, journalists and the public can do to help free Robert Pether. If you prefer, you can watch the video version of this interview on YouTube. For more information on Robert Pether, please check out the following:Free Robert Pether Twitter accountSocial media hashtag: freerobertpetherGet the latest updates on hostage cases we at Pod Hostage Diplomacy are working on including new episodes by subscribing to our fortnightly newsletter, the Hostage Briefing. Subscribe here.You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.Support the Show.
20:46 13/04/2022
Michael White, American, US Navy veteran and former hostage in Iran | Pod Hostage Diplomacy
Michael White is an American citizen from Southern California. Michael served in the US Navy for 15 years and is one of 5 siblings, all of whom have served in the US Armed Forces. In 2012, Michael met his fiancé-to-be, Samaneh Abbasi on a Yahoo chatroom. He then travelled to Iran a total of three times to visit her. During Michael’s third trip to Iran in 2018, he was arrested by the Iranian authorities on false charges and wrongfully imprisoned for 683 days. In June 2020, Michael was released in a prisoner swap deal between the US and Iran. On this week’s episode, we have the honour of speaking to Michael himself. He walks us through his arrest, being tortured in prison, being forced to write a false confession, being put through a sham trial and being sentenced to 15 years in prison on false charges, getting COVID19 in prison as a cancer survivor who was still recovering from the effects of his chemotherapy before visiting Iran, assistance from the Swiss Embassy, being granted medical furlough and eventually being released in a prisoner swap deal. Michael also talks about his depression and difficulty reintegrating into society after coming back to the United States which led him to think about taking his own life. Michael is now suing the Iranian authorities for $1 Billion US Dollars to get compensation for what they did to him. We also discuss what the US government, news media and the public can do to prevent Iran from doing this again.If you prefer, you can watch the video version of this interview on YouTube. For more information on Michael White, please check out the following:Michael White's websiteGet the latest updates on hostage cases we at Pod Hostage Diplomacy are working on including new episodes by subscribing to our fortnightly newsletter, the Hostage Briefing. Subscribe here.You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.Support the Show.
100:46 06/04/2022
Free Jorge Toledo, American held in Venezuela | Pod Hostage Diplomacy
American citizen Jorge Toledo from Houston, Texas has been wrongfully imprisoned in Venezuela since November 2017. He works for US oil company, CITGO and was arrested in Caracas with 5 of his colleagues while they were there for a business meeting. Collectively, they are known as the CITGO 6. The US government has called for their immediate release. On 8 March 2022, one of the CITGO 6, Gustavo Cardenas – was released. This is a positive step for the families of the 5 remaining members of the CITGO 6 as they are now hopeful their loved ones may come home soon.This is our fifth episode on the CITGO 6. So far we have interviewed the daughter of Tomeu Vadell, Veronica Vadell Weggeman and the daughter and niece of Alirio Jose Zambrano and Jose Luis Zambrano, Alexandra Zambrano Forseth. Please do check out these episodes if you haven’t already.On this episode, we have the honour of speaking to Jorge Toledo’s son – Carlos Anez. Carlos talks to us about the release of Gustavo Cardenas and his father’s serious health issues requiring urgent care. According to Carlos, Jorge has chronic bronchitis and his kidneys are not functioning properly. Every piece of information Jorge’s family is getting so far indicates that Jorge’s organs are on track for an eventual failure. Carlos also talks about what happened to his father, his background, the conditions Jorge is being held in, the urgent need for medical care, the toll this has taken on his family, criticism of the Biden administration’s efforts to free Gustavo Cardenas by opposition party politicians and why the CITGO 6 families are pushing back on this criticism. We end the interview by discussing with Carlos what US President Joe Biden, Congress, State Department, journalists and the public can do to help free Jorge Toledo.If you prefer, you can watch the video version of this interview on YouTube. For more information on Jorge Toledo, please check out the following:Carlos Anez's Twitter accountCarmen Molinos' Twitter account (Jorge's wife and Carlos' mother)Social media hashtag: FreeJorgeToledoGet the latest updates on hostage cases we at Pod Hostage Diplomacy are working on including new episodes by subscribing to our fortnightly newsletter, the Hostage Briefing. Subscribe here.You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.Support the Show.
67:32 30/03/2022
Nazanin is free but other hostages remain in Iran | Pod Hostage Diplomacy
During the early hours of Thursday morning 17th March 2022, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe arrived back home in the UK. She was freed after being held hostage in Iran for almost 6 years. She’s a British citizen and a charity worker from West Hampstead, London. She was arrested by the Iranian IRGC on 3 April 2016 when she was on holiday in Tehran visiting her elderly parents with her one year old daughter, Gabriella. Almost six years later, three members of Nazanin’s family were there to greet her at the Royal Air Force base when she landed – her husband Richard Ratcliffe who’s campaigned tirelessly for her freedom and has been on this podcast many times, her now seven year old daughter Gabriella and Nazanin’s younger brother, Mohammad Zaghari.Mohammad is one of the unsung heroes of the FreeNazanin campaign. He was in Tehran with Nazanin’s parents when she was arrested. He helped raise Gabriella for the three years she was in Iran separated from both parents. He brought Gabriella back to the UK in 2019 and had to leave his entire life in Iran behind because it was no longer safe for him to return home. On this week’s episode, we have the honour of speaking to Mohammad himself. He talks about Nazanin coming back home and what it was like to be reunited with her after all these years. Mohammad also talks about dealing with the Iranian authorities when Nazanin was taken, the trauma he experienced, visiting her in prison with Gabriella, the pressure the IRGC puts on the families, the threats, life in the UK, the long recovery journey ahead and what’s next for him. We also talk about the other hostages left behind in Iran, going public and Richard’s amazing campaigning. You’ll also hear voice messages from the loved ones of Nahid Taghavi, Jamshid Sharmahd, Fariba Adelkhah and Kamran Ghaderi – all innocent individuals from Germany, France and Austria still held in Iran. Their loved ones talk about how happy they are for Nazanin and her family as well as what needs to be done to Free Nahid, Free Jamshid, Free Fariba and Free Kamran.If you prefer, you can watch the video version of this interview on YouTube. For more information on Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, please check out the following:Our previous episodes: Ep 1, Ep 10, Ep 12, Ep 13, Ep 14FreeNazanin petitionFreeNazanin Twitter accountSocial media hashtag: FreeNazaninGet the latest updates on hostage cases we at Pod Hostage Diplomacy are working on including new episodes by subscribing to our fortnightly newsletter, the Hostage Briefing. Subscribe here.You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.Support the Show.
62:21 23/03/2022
Diane Foley, Founder and President of the James W Foley Legacy Foundation | Pod Hostage Diplomacy
Diane Foley is the mother of five children, including American freelance conflict journalist, James W Foley. Jim was kidnapped in Syria on 22 November 2012 and he was murdered on 19 August 2014. Diane founded the James W Foley Legacy Foundation (JWFLF) in September 2014 less than a month after his public execution to ensure Americans held hostage and wrongfully detained overseas as well as their families are made a priority by the US government and given all the support they need. Diane is currently the President of the Foundation.This week, we have the honour of speaking to Diane Foley herself. She talks about her son, James and the JWFLF. We discuss the different types of hostage-taking, the difference between ‘hostage’ and ‘wrongful detainee’ classifications, the US Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs office, American hostage Robert Levinson, the Robert Levinson Hostage Recovery and Hostage-Taking Accountability Act, support for the families, ensuring there is a punishment for hostage-taking e.g. sanctions, US government stance on not-negotiating with hostage-takers, the case for negotiating as well as the Declaration Against Arbitrary Detention in State-to-State Relations launched by Canada. We also discuss what businesses with operations and employees around the world, academic institutions, journalists, news organisations as well as the public can all do to help. If you prefer, you can watch the video version of this interview on YouTube. For more information on Diane Foley and the James W Foley Legacy Foundation, please check out the following:James W Foley Legacy Foundation websiteJames W Foley Legacy Foundation Twitter accountGet the latest updates on hostage cases we at Pod Hostage Diplomacy are working on including new episodes by subscribing to our fortnightly newsletter, the Hostage Briefing. Subscribe here.You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.Support the Show.
57:34 16/03/2022